Using Social Media to Enhance Your Upcoming Event

22 11 2010

In today’s technology-driven world, it may seem to be a no-brainer to use social media to enhance your next event; but it takes more than creating an event on Facebook and inviting guests. To truly use social media to make your event shine, you’ve got to have a way for your attendees to interact with each other – before, during and after the event, enhance their overall participation throughout the event and to have fun. There are many ways to use social media to spark an interest and add spice to your event – let’s take a look at a few of the most popular here.

Facebook

This is the most obvious, most popular and perhaps the easiest and most understandable tool for many to use. If you’ve been using our advice from previous posts on Facebook, then you have already created a Facebook profile and a fan page and/or group for your nonprofit. Now it’s time to create an “Event” page to begin inviting attendees. The Event page is a centralized location to schedule your event, invite attendees, track those who have confirmed attendance, those who have yet to respond to your invitation and those who have declined the invitation. The page also allows your attendees to communicate with each other to discuss event logistics like speakers and their topics or if overnight travel is necessary, perhaps to share expenses with hotels and cabs to and from the airport. Those who are attending your event can also share your Event page with others to help increase awareness and possibly attendance.

Success Tip for Facebook: When creating your Event page on Facebook, be sure to include ALL necessary information: date and time of event, venue location, address and phone number, who to contact for further information on your event and any other information that attendees will need: conference speakers, topics, etc.

Twitter

Twitter is another effective tool for upcoming events, though it will be used in a different manner than other social media tools.

A few weeks before your event, you’ll want to create what’s called a “hashtag” for your event. A hashtag is a key word specific to your organization or event preceded by the “number sign” or a “hash mark” – for example, our basic Twitter hashtag is #animalrescuesuperhighway. Event coordinators should adopt a hashtag well before the event so that there is uniformity when seeing it splashed across Twitter. Make sure you post the hashtag everywhere so that your attendees who Tweet can begin using it before and during the event. If you want to see how the hashtag is performing, you can use a free service like Tweetdeck to monitor any mentions of the hashtag.

Success Tip for Twitter: If you have the capability, scroll tweets using your event’s hashtag in the hallway or centralized place for your attendees to see what others are tweeting. You can also use Twitter (and your hashtag, of course) to schedule “Tweetups” – meetings with event attendees at a dinner or for drinks to help put faces with names.

YouTube

Yes, even YouTube can help create a buzz for your event. This particular tool will take a little more effort on your part, but worth it in order to spark an interest and increase attendance.

If you are holding a conference that will feature speakers about a particular topic, you can create short videos about the speakers and upload them onto your own YouTube page. Once you’ve done this, be sure to embed your video into your Facebook page, tweet about it (don’t forget to use your hashtag!) and email to your mailing list of attendees. By giving them a teaser of what’s to come, you’ll surely create a buzz.

Success Tip for YouTube: Is the event your planning a yearly thing? Did you have a similar event last year? Use pictures and videos of the last event and post them on to your YouTube channel to create excitement for your current event.

Blogs

Before, during and after your event – blog, blog, blog! By blogging about the information that will be conveyed at your event, you will help encourage those who are on the fence about attending to register and those who are already confirmed will share their excitement with others. Blogging during the event will help to create a buzz for those who couldn’t attend (and encourage them to attend the next event) but also those who are there and will also provide a recap of the day’s events.

Success Tip for Blogging: Be sure to include all of the other social media outlets you are using to promote your event here. Include links to your Facebook Event page link, the Twitter hashtag and the link to your YouTube page. All work hand-in-hand with your blog and other social media tools to help promote your event and make it a huge success.

Are you using social media to promote your event? Tell us about it! Please leave your comments below and help us help others find out what works and what doesn’t.

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Crowdsourcing: What Is It And How Can Your Organization Benefit?

15 11 2010

Crowdsourcing is hardly a new avenue for involving others in your organization – it’s actually been around since the early days of the Internet – we’re just learning more about how to use it. But what is it?

Simply put, crowdsourcing is involving volunteers to help your organization meet the goals you’ve set. This method of expanding an organization’s reach is a practice used by both for-profit and nonprofit businesses alike. While some of the individuals used for crowdsourcing may be paid a small amount, most are volunteers who believe in your organization’s mission. More and more organizations are finding they can increase their outreach by relying on the ideas and talents of their volunteer pool and not just limiting themselves to the ideas and desires of their Board of Directors and other “powers that be.”

Crowdsourcing can be used by having your volunteers reach out to the community for new ideas and thoughts that can help move your organization forward. What can your organization do to better the community? How can your community benefit from what your organization is currently doing? These are just a few examples of types of questions you can pose.

Harnessing the power of crowdsourcing can allow your organization to effectively and efficiently solve problems and create new ideas. As with any other opportunity presented to work with volunteers, crowsourcing presents its own set of challenges, but because of the low cost involved, there is a large return on your time investment. Those your organization is trying to reach believe that their ideas can help shape your mission that which in turn makes it more valuable to you, your staff and your community. Don’t you agree that it’s time for you to use this powerful resource for YOUR group?





Tips For a Successful Year-End Fundraising Campaign

29 10 2010

If you’re like most nonprofits, chances are you’ve begun working on, or are in full swing of, your organization’s year-end fundraising campaign. Read on and we’ll help you turn your December from white to green.

First, figure out what it is your trying to accomplish with your fundraising goals.  Every campaign is only as strong as the goals you set for it. How will you reach these goals?  Make sure your communications are targeted in order to be truly effective. Think about your goals in order to determine which of your donors you need to participate in order to reach those goals. Choosing the right donor group can mean the difference between the success or failure of your campaign.

Now that you’ve determined your goals and who you need to contact to help you reach them, how are you going to engage them? What ideas or information do you have that will compel your donors to act? Tell a story, make it interesting. Need some help? We’ve got a special report to help inspire you.

What methods of communication are you going to use to reach your donor groups?  There are plenty of ways to reach your supporters: your website, your social media sites, newsletters and of course, email. Be sure that your website is easy to use and your server is secure to give your donors an added sense of security when donating.  If you haven’t yet begun to use online methods of communication, there are always the traditional offline methods like direct mail and paid advertisements.

Who will lead the charge of your campaign? A dedicated member of your staff or volunteer pool to act as the chairperson is the obvious choice here,but be sure they have a campaign staff to help delegate responsibility. Make sure who you choose someone who will be accountable for both the successes and the failures of the campaign. 

Your campaign is underway, now it’s time to measure your successes. Your Board likes to see numbers. Show them hits to your website, dollar amount collected, contacts added to your list and any other quantitative measurement you think would “wow” your directors.

Finally, your campaign must have a beginning and an end. You’ve determined what goals you need to reach, what groups of people you will need to help you reach that goal, how you’re going to contact them and who’s going to run your campaign, now you have to decide when your campaign will run. Once you have determined the timeline of your campaign, it sometimes helps to work backwards from when it will end to make sure that all of your activities will run smoothly and help you reach your goals.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss a single post about fundraising and other important information for your nonprofit organization. If you would like to receive our Special Report on Successful Fundraising for a small donation to Animal Rescue Superhighway, please contact us and request your copy.